African broadcasters are being challenged to invest in new digital technologies that are able to deliver content to huge online masses as well as tell stories from the continent to the rest of the world.
In the current age where content is branded as king, broadcasters across the world have embarked on heavy investments in new digital technologies for faster and efficient delivery of content to the audience.
This is supported by the fact that most content consumers are the now online.
The International Telecommunications Union estimates that 40.3 percent people aged between 15-24 years now accesses news and entertainment through mobile devices or tablets.
As a result, they spend less time watching TV, listening to radio or reading newspapers.
Speakers at the 5th Digital Dialogue Conference held in Dubai, UAE say it is critical for broadcasters to adopt new ways of delivering African content for wider reach.
“Historically, if you were in Kenya or Nigeria, Your competition was local newspapers or other broadcasters. The internet has changed all of that and has basically opened up the world to our audiences. So now we have to compete with the best in the world. We can do that but we have to realize that things have changed.” Said Yolisa Phahle, Video Entertainment Chief Executive Officer at Multichoice Africa.
Increased internet access has now brought many young Africans to sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp among others.
The migration from analogue to the more spectrum efficient digital video terrestrial broadcasting in early 2014 is expected to continue widening broadcasting space for content creators.
According to Professor Anthony Lilley of Creative Industries at Ulster University, regulating the rapidly expanding content especially on handheld devices will be a tall order for the authorities.”
You can’t regulate all content made by people on their own mobile phone in the same way that you regulate content made by professional broadcasters.
You have to both have your broadcast type content regulation and you have to think about issues of free speech, defamation and the ability to protect privacy. It is a complex question of not just regulating TV.” Said Lilley.
Kenya alone boasts of internet subscriptions of 33.3 million. The Digital Dialogue Conference seeks to foster a better understanding of the future direction of the video entertainment industry in Africa.